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Te Pou Awe is a series of three free classes designed to support and upskill Māori with auditioning via a Self-tape. We are responding to the quick shift creatives have had to make, to audition in this fashion.


Auditions are open for ‘The Lion King’ - Te Reo Māori adaptation and we would like to tautoko whānau Māori who are keen to ‘give it a go’. In these classes you will learn how to record correctly, voice work, acting techniques and script analysis. The classes will be facilitated by renowned actors Nikki Si’ulepa and Jennifer Ward-Lealand, with support from Te Pou Whānau. 

The first class is on Tuesday 30 November, 6-8pm, facilitated by Nikki Si’ulepa.

The class will focus specifically on best ‘self-tape audition’ practices.


The second class is on Saturday 4 December, 1-3pm, facilitated by Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

The class will pay attention to voice work, acting techniques and script analysis 


The third session is on Sunday 5 December, 1-3pm and this is an opportunity for participants to have a one-on-one session with Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Te Pou whānau. 


You don’t have to have any acting experience to participate.

What to prepare: Please select a monologue of your choice.

A piece from a play that you would like to use to practice your craft with.

Once you have booked in, we will provide more information.


Nikki Si'ulepa is a female Samoan Kiwi actor, filmmaker and camera operator. She first entered the New Zealand film industry as a young nineteen year old rookie actor playing the lead role in Kiwi/Canadian feature film, Whole of the Moon in 1995. She won two best actress awards for this role in New Zealand and Giffoni, Italy. Since the she's worked predominantly as a writer, director, actor, tutor, and camera operator in film, television, and media in Aotearoa.

For over a decade Nikki worked as a reporter/director/camera operator on Māori & Pacific Programs including Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia, Marae, On the Ladder, Kia Mau, Totes Māori and I am TV. Her films have won awards and screened at international film festivals including the Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival, Tribeca, La Skins Fest, Sydney Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Queer Screen and imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Her love for real stories began early and has evolved into a film-making way of life. Working intensely on both sides of the camera has helped Nikki gain full appreciation for acting, writing and directing which has moulded her into a multi-skilled and multi-layered filmmaker.

In 2021, Nikki created ScreenFit for writers, directors and actors of various skills, backgrounds and experience, to come together once a month and work a scene to stay 'screen fit'. Nikki also teaches and leads workshops on filmmaking (South Shorts, The Actors Program, Excel Performing Arts) and is a founding Komiti (committee) member of Pacific Islands Screen Artists (PISA, est. 2020). PISA advocates, catapults and supports Pasifika screen artists in the screen sector.

Nikki can be seen on Canadian and New Zealand television screens in South Pacific Pictures' thriller, The Sounds, in Roseanne's Liang's (Shadow in the Cloud) post-apocalyptic comedy drama, Creamerie, and guest stars opposite Kiwi Xena icon, Lucy Lawless in My Life is Murder.


Since training at Auckland's Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for 40 years, She is also a trained Intimacy Coordinator for stage and screen.

Jennifer was a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of the drama school, The Actors' Program. She is President of Equity New Zealand (since 2008), Patron of Q Theatre and Theatre New Zealand and serves asa trust board member of the Actors Benevolent Fund.


In the 2007 New Year's Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to theatre and the community. In 2018 she was named SPADA Industry Champion and in 2019 New Year's Honours List, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to theatre, film and television and presented with a Woman of Influence Award (for arts and culture) most recently, Jennifer was honoured as the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2020.

She was gifted the name Te Atamira (The Stage) by Sir Timoti Karetu and the late Dr Te Wharehuia Milroy for her championing of te reo Māori throughout the performing arts community.


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